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Entropy 2003, 5(2), 88-99; https://doi.org/10.3390/e5020088
- Thus we need a new, broader and more profound foundation. We cannot just add information theory on top of the old mechanistic foundation, or a physicalistic foundation improved by complexity theory or random dynamics , as none of these theories includes a theory of the emergence of life, meaning and language.
- We need some kind of reflective metaphysical frame going beyond the Plato-inspired mathematical determinism in physics that is also the source of much thinking in cognitive science and artificial intelligence. It lacks a profound theory of the relation between life and meaning.
- At the same time such a framework has to be able to respect the nature of the various subject areas and their specific types of knowledge that we have developed within the sciences and humanities. This is an aspect that systems theory has worked with for quite a long time in the terms of different ontological levels and types of emergence, as Emmeche et. al. have pointed out .
The Problem of Meaning
- Classical science still seems to harbor the general aim of explaining biology chemically, and chemistry physically.
- But in chemistry we clearly see formal causation and information processes. Se for instance Kauffman’s  work on auto-catalytic closure.
- Chemical processes and structures can describe and explain crucial aspects of the physiological structure and processes of the nervous system necessary for first person experiences, but the chemistry cannot describe the experiences, which are not chemical as such. Further many biologists would argue that even the function of an organ cannot be described sufficiently without refereeing to its biological purpose.
- If mind did not ‛fall from the sky’ then it developed through evolution. Still, to this day, ‘mind’ is completely outside the explanatory powers of physics, chemistry and biology as they are understood in mainstream science .
- A concept of information built on a Wienerian classical cybernetic foundation, combining a version of the statistical formulation of information and entropy with thermodynamics, will, in my opinion, not solve any problems, but only obscure the foundation problems we have in the sciences. See my analysis of Bateson’s work [1, 2, 3].
- Efficient causality, which I relate to the physical level’s exchange of force and energy between masses (part of Peirce’s Secondness).
- Formal causality, which I relate to informational and signal exchange through pattern fitting. It is a key-lock fitting with no intentionality. It is well described in cybernetics. This is protosemiotic interaction.
- Final causality, where the goal is influencing the result. At the semiotic level, it is through more or less unconscious motivation and drive (teleonomy), and on the linguistic level, it is conscious intension.
Mind and Reality
The Role of Information
Abduction as a Meaningful Rationality
Information and the Pluralism of Reality
- An entangled form of causality on the quantum level. This is the most abstract expression of mind. It is from this level that ‘virtual particles’ jump in and out of manifest existence. It is also from here that the mystical ‘entanglement’ functions as what the physicists call ‘ghostlike causal connection’ beyond the time and space limits of general relativity.
- A physical-energetic causality on the physical level (as described in physics as exchange of energy).
- An informational-signal organizational causality in dissipative structures, cybernetic machines and on the chemical level.
- A semiotic causality in living systems.
- Finally, a linguistic communicative causality in human conscious and social systems.
- The first level of quantum vacuum fields entangled causality is not considered physically dead as usually done in physicalistic physics. Cybersemiotics conceives it as a part of Firstness, which also holds qualia and pure feeling. Although physicist may be bothered by this new metaphysical understanding of this level of reality, they cannot claim that there is no room for new interpretations, because physics has a complete understanding of it. On the contrary, this is one of the most mysterious levels of reality we have encountered, and its implications have been discussed since the 1930’s and were central in the disputes between Bohr and Einstein and now the entanglement is attempted exploited for the possibility of teleportation.
- The second level of efficient causation is clearly what Peirce describes as Secondness. This realm is ontologically dominated by physics as classical kinematics and thermodynamics. But for Peirce it is also the willpower of mind.
- The third level of information is where the formal causation manifests clearly and where the regularities and Thirdness becomes crucial for interactions through stable patterns. This level is ontologically dominated by the chemical sciences. This difference in ontological character may be one of the keys to understand the differences between physics and chemistry. It is not only a matter of complexity but also of organization and type of predominant causality.
- On the fourth level, where life has self-organized, the actual semiotic interactions emerge. First internally in multi-cellular organisms as ‘endosemiotics’  and between organism as ‘sign games’ .Thus, this framework –based on biosemiotics– points out that the informational concept may be useful at the chemical level of analyzing life, but it is not sufficient to capture the communicative, dynamic organizational closure of living systems. This is one of the reasons why Maturana and Varela  do not want to use the information concept in their explanations of the dynamics of life and cognition [3,19]. But they do not use a semiotic either.
- Finally on the fifth level with syntactic language games, human self-consciousness emerges and with that rationality, logical thinking and creative inferences (intelligence). Intelligence is closely connected to abduction and conscious finality. Abduction is crucial to signification. It is the ability to see something as a sign for something else. This something else has to be a habit of nature. Some kind of regularity or stability in nature that the mind can recognize as somewhat lawful is necessary for it to be a fairly stable eigen value  in the mind (an interpretant).
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- 1The present text is a short overview of my viewpoints stated in the context of months of discussions on the FIS net conference. The article thus stresses where my views differ from most discussants arguing about the relevance and new perspective of this thinking. The article is very short for such a complicated matter and I have therefore put references to those of my articles where further articulations of the particular view can be found. A book collecting the whole argument around and a model of Cybersemiotics is in review at the moment.
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